At this point, at the very least, we already know that Google’s augmented reality glasses are capable of snapping a photo. However, we do not have much of an idea of how the UI might work other than what is in the initial concept video. Our sources previously indicated that Google was using a “head tilting-to scroll and click” for navigation of the user interface. Today, we get a look out how the company is experimenting with alternative methods of input for the glasses from a patent recently granted by the United States Patent & Trademark Office and detailed by PatentBolt.
According to the report, the highlight of the patent is how Google’s glasses could work with hand gestures. The patent described various hand-wearable markers, such as a ring, invisible tattoo, or a woman’s fingernail, which could be detected by the glasses’ IR camera, to “track position and motion of the hand-wearable item within a FOV of the HMD.” In other words, the wearable marker, in whatever form factor, would allow the glasses to pick up hand gestures. The report also noted multiple markers could be used to perform complex gestures involving several fingers or both hands: Read more
The New York Times today relayed an open secret among some in the Google community: the company is working on wearable technology in its secret off-campus Google X lair. However, the technology we have heard about is not the watch-type variety as described (although, we would be surprised if Google was not working on that technology, too):
Over the last year, Apple and Google have secretly begun working on projects that will become wearable computers. Their main goal: to sell more smartphones. (In Google’s case, more smartphones sold means more advertising viewed.)
In Google’s secret Google X labs, researchers are working on peripherals that — when attached to your clothing or body — would communicate information back to an Android smartphone.
People familiar with the work in the lab say Google has hired electronic engineers from Nokia Labs, Apple and engineering universities who specialize in tiny wearable computers.
While Apple may be focusing on iPod nano-like watches, Google seems to be pushing ahead in heads-up displays. We first brought news that prominent wearables PhD Richard DuVaul moved from Apple to Google in June. His research is focused on wearable heads up displays (HUDs).
His dissertation was on “The Memory Glasses“, a heads-up display focused on the problems associated with wearable memory support technology. This included hardware and software architectures, and low-attention human-computer interaction for wearable computing, including the use of subliminal visual cues for just-in-time memory support.
Our source tells us that this is what Google is building. They are in late prototype stages of wearable glasses that look similar to thick-rimmed glasses that “normal people” wear. However, these provide a display with a heads up computer interface. There are a few buttons on the arms of the glasses, but otherwise, they could be mistaken for normal glasses. Additionally, we are not sure of the technology being employed here, but it is likely a transparent LCD or AMOLED display such as the one demonstrated below:
In addition, we have heard that this device is not an “Android peripheral” as the NYT stated. According to our source, it communicates directly with the Cloud over IP. Although, the “Google Goggles” could use a phone’s Internet connection, through Wi-Fi or a low power Bluetooth 4.0.
The use-case is augmented reality that would tie into Google’s location services. A user can walk around with information popping up and into display -Terminator-style- based on preferences, location and Google’s information.
Therefore, these things likely connect to the Internet and have GPS. They also likely run a version of Android.
Richard DeVaul, a PhD. scientist from MIT with a focus on building wearable technologies, was snared from Apple this month by Google. At Apple he was rumored to be working with SVP of Industrial Design, Jonny Ive in Apple’s secret labs building the next big thing.
Besides his having knowledge of the inter-workings of Apple, it is also interesting that DeVaul is a hardware person who has focused on building wearable products for the past decade. Google has been a software company for all of its existence, but more and more it appears that it will enter the hardware business…but probably in smart accessories rather than phones.